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Mar 14, 2011 05:59 PM


Will be taking our first trip to London in June accompanied by our teenage sons. One an adventurous eater, one has a very American palate - burgers, fries, pizza. We will accommodate both needs at different times. This is a big vacation for us, so price is not our main concern - quality food is.
We are comfortable at "dives" as well as 5-star locations. The food and service are the most important issues.
We are staying at the Renaissance St. Pancras (keeping our fingers crossed that this is not too far out of the mainstream...). thoughts welcomed.
I have read most of the threads and now have a list so long that it is quite cumbersome.
I think that where we end up will probably be dictated by where our sightseeing finds us on any particular day. I am still working on that schedule.
We will do one gastropub - Harwood Arms, Bull & Last or Hope and Anchor are on the list.
We will have tea at Fortnum and Mason and Brown's. Although I hear that the Mandeville has a "man's tea" - does anyone know anything about that?
We want to do fish and chips at least twice - I have Rock and Sole Plaice and Masters Superfish as the designated spots.
We will eat at the Food Hall in Harrods and visit the Borough Market.
I do need help with Chinese. there are many dissenting opinions. So far, I am choosing between Haozhan and Min Jiang. Any other suggestions?
Adventurous son wants curry. This is one area I have not researched.
I have read that the restaurant in the new hotel Pancras will be run by a popular chef. I am not familiar with him. Any info.?
We are big breakfast people. St. John Bread and Wine sounds like a good stop. I am sure that the finer hotels (Mandarin, Claridge's, etc.) have a great breakfast - any one better than others?
All breakfast ideas are appreciated.
Lastly, ice cream. What is your favorite place?
thank you so much for sorting through all this. Answers to any of these questions will be most helpful!

St. John
26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY, GB

Harwood Arms
27 Walham Grove, London SW6 1QR, United Kingdom

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  1. Consider going to the Hawksmoor. It's an excellent steakhouse specialising in high quality British meats (modeled partly after the old fashioned 19th century "chophouses".

    Harrods' food hall is good if expensive and touristy. Also consider Selfridges' Food Hall.

    The East End, particularly in and around Brick Lane, has a number of first rate Indian and Pakistani restaurants. Pakistani food will be more geared towards meat (kebabs and grills) with curries on the side, whilst Indian will be focused on the curries and meats as the side. I'll leave it to others to recommend certain places although I've always enjoyed Lahore Kebab house which isn't far from Brick Lane.

    Pearl Liang (right behind Paddington Station) is an excellent Chinese restaurant with some of the best Chinese food in London. Their roast pork and duck are among the best I've ever sampled. If you enjoy dim sum, Royal China on Queensway does fabulous dim sum.

    Royal China
    13 Queensway, Paddington, Greater London W2 4, GB

    Pearl Liang
    8 Sheldon Close, Bromley, Greater London SE20 8, GB

    157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, GB

    5 Replies
    1. re: Roland Parker

      if you go to hawksmoor the seven dials, covent garden branch has a more buzzy atmosphere than the shoreditch one.

      i think dishoom (also covent garden) might be a central london spot where you could all eat indian food.

      1. re: abby d

        if you're in Covent Garden for Hawksmoor, it should be noted that Scoop gelato is also there - a great ice cream choice. Rock and Sole place is not the absolute best Fish & Chips experience in but it is still quite good. Great Queen street is a gastro-pub mentioned on this board often - despite not being a pub.

        I only mention all these places because they are central and despite good intentions, you may not make it up to the Bull & Last just for a meal so it might be good to keep all these in your back-pocket.

        1. re: r.vacapinta

          Thank you. I will look up Scoop Gelato and Great Queen as well. I appreciate all of the suggestions.

        2. re: abby d

          I will try to look up the menu at dishoom. Thank you so much for the suggestion.

        3. re: Roland Parker

          We will be trying Hawksmoor. Also, thank you so much for for suggesting the Selfridges Food Hall. It will give me an excuse to drag these men into another store! Not having daughters makes shopping very unpopular during our vacations! Pearl Liang sound great - we have two duck lovers in the group so that will work well. Thank you for your time!

          Pearl Liang
          8 Sheldon Close, Bromley, Greater London SE20 8, GB

          157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, GB

        4. I've had the regular tea at the Mandeville and thought it was a very nice experience with tasty offerings. I'm sure the Man's Tea is full of goodies, too. It's much lower key than Brown's (which I haven't been to in years) and less 'fussy.' At the Mandeville, they let my niece take away all the food we didn't finish.

          Your hotel should be amazing from what I've seen! Marcus Wareing is the chef you mentioned, and he is highly thought of in London and is a Very familiar name.

          No ambiance at all at Master's Superfish, but the food is great, both the fish *and* the chips. Not all of these shops can boast that both are terrific, but this place can.

          Personally, I would not go to Brick Lane for a curry.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zuriga1

            Thank you. We will definitely try the tea at the Mandeville!

          2. For a great breakfast a short bus/cab or long walk away I would recommed Caravan on Exmouth market. Its a great fusion of British, Antipodean, and Mediterranean influences in a bright modern room. I just had breakfast here again the other day , I usually go for dinner or lunch, and the baked egg w/ chorizo, corn bread french toast, and black pudding were all memorable and made w/ top notch ingredients. They roast their own coffee and you can get 3rd wave filter style, flat whites, or traditional expressos etc... For the non adventurous eater they do eggs any style . So should suit everyone.

            Exmouth market in general would be a great place to explore for you and your family due to its proximity to your hotel. For lunch the market is typcially full of vendors - you can grab a grilled sausage or Ghanaian stew and sit in Spa fields park if its nice out . At night you have Moro, De La Cruz, Caravan and others to choose from.

            For ice cream I stick to Gelato Mio in Holland Park and Dri Dri on Portobello rd. Your teens may also enjoy the nitro ice cream parlor in Camden Chin Chin Labs.


            3 Replies
            1. re: NYLONDave

              Caravan sounds great. I must admit to ignorance once again though - what is Antipodean?
              Is Exmouth Market food only or is there other merchandise to peruse? Thank you so much for your help.

              1. re: boyzmom11

                Antipodean in Britain means people from Australia and New Zealand ... basically, the word antipode describes the part of the world directly opposite where you are - ie. if you drew a straight line through the centre of the earth - so in Britain that means Australasia. The things we learn on this site!

                1. re: boyzmom11

                  I wouldnt say Exmouth Market is a shopping destination in its own right, though there are a few shops sprinkled among the restaurants and the food stalls which are there at lunch time only. if its a nice day and you have some time I would walk around and soak it up , otherwise you can just hit Caravan and head out as its pretty close to your hotel.


              2. I'd give Brick Lane a miss for currys (but great for a walk around for the markets and other stalls) and head to either Needoo or Tayaabs for great grills.They are both in Whitechapel, so a short walk from Brick Lane.

                St John Bread and Wine is great for breakfast (and lunch and dinner!) - it's made up of sharing plates mainly so there could be something there for everyone. Also as NYLONDave mentioned, Caravan is lovely for breakfast, or head down to Smithfields market for Smiths - also fantastic breakfasts. I'd give the hotels a miss, they would be hugely overpriced. My favourite place for breakfast is actually Bistroteque in the East End, but this might be a bit of a trek for you - it's lovely on a Sunday with a resident piano player.

                St John
                26 St John St, Islington EC1M 4AY, United Kingdom

                3 Replies
                1. re: pj26

                  Second the Tayyabs and Needoo recommendation! Great experience.

                  For fish and chips, skip Rock and Sole and head to Masters. Much better. If you need a second F&C choices, Golden Hind.

                  For me, the interesting Chinese in London now is delivered as part of the surge in Hunan and Sichuan choices. Golden Day gets my vote for the former style. Mmm, spicy, salty, smoky. It just hits all the right notes.

                  I would also suggest considering Lebanese or Iranian. Ishbilia (Leabnese) or Mohsen (Iranian) are not horrifically far from where you are staying.

                  1. re: CTownFeedR

                    Thank you. WIth your recommendation and a look at the Board, I have now switched our two F&C choices to Masters and Golden Hind. I will also look into your Chinese selection. Sounds wonderful. Thank you!

                  2. re: pj26

                    Thank you for the Breakfast recommendations. I have six breakfasts to plan, so we will definitely use your suggestions. Appreciate your time!

                  3. Lucky you to be staying where you are - it looks AMAZING and is a perfectly fine location to be in as the transport links are very good. If you like walking, it's also really not that far to walk into the West End from there.

                    You're actually only a short tube journey away from the Bull & Last, which is one of my favourite places in London. Don't miss it - and fwiw limster rates the ice cream there very highly.